‘The way the health service should look’

Banbury Cake: Ian Wilson Ian Wilson

CARE closer to home, more use of technology and transparency were among key demands from residents who took part in a major consultation on the NHS in Oxfordshire.

More than 350 people attended events around the county and gave more than 200 responses under the Call to Action.

Seven meetings, from November to January, were staged to get patients’ views on the future priorities of Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (OCCG).

The OCCG makes most NHS funding decisions, but could be £200m short by 2020 if savings are not made.

Issues of major concern included the need to be “open and transparent about the financial challenge faced”.

At the last meeting in Oxford in January, when asked if he could guarantee that services would not deteriorate, interim chief executive Ian Wilson said: “Absolutely not. I can’t guarantee that. It is determined by the economic circumstances.”

Patient concerns included the need not to “rush” into major reforms on decision-making.

The OCCG wants contracts with providers like hospitals and private firms based on the outcomes of treatment rather than the number of people seen.

Residents backed more care closer to home to take pressure off hospitals – “but not to the detriment of the quality of care”.

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The report said: “OCCG needs to change the attitude of the public from ‘fix me now’ to individuals taking joint responsibility for their health with their GP”.

It said a programme on which services should be used is also needed to take pressure off struggling services.

Residents said cuts to duplication and waste, and best use of technology, should be used to free GPs’ time.

The organisation said there will be more cash for Oxfordshire County Council’s alert service, where pensioners have an alarm to get help from staff. It actively supported online appointment booking and text reminders.

Among those taking part in the meetings were Oxon Keep Our NHS Public, which opposes the use of private firms for NHS work.

Secretary Bill MacKeith said; “We agree with taking care nearer to people at home, particularly the elderly. They don’t seem to even acknowledge it is a much more expensive way of doing things than people coming to centres to be looked after... they wanted people to say what their priorities were so they could start thinking about where the cuts should apply.”

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